heart shaped icecream sandwichesGot kids? Maybe you’re feeling a little left out of Valentine’s Day now that it’s not just you and your sweetheart… You may be a single mom or dad, with no Valentine to speak of, or maybe you have a partner, but you also have little ones to look after? Valentine’s Day seems like the perfect opportunity to hire a babysitter and do “date night” with your beloved, but what if your sitter has Valentine’s plans of her (or his) own? Maybe you are single or away from your significant other this year. While it may seem to you that you are the only person on earth that wants to lie in bed under the covers and let Valentine’s Day simply pass you by, rest assured, whatever your status, and whatever your circumstances – you are not alone.

Whether yours is a “nuclear family,” or one of the countless “other” family types (and in the spirit of banishing exclusivity altogether, let’s include non-blood related roommates), why don’t you do something together this Valentine’s Day? There are plenty of ways to celebrate, and the middle of February is the perfect time to get people together for some arbitrary fun and games! Give cute Valentine’s Day gifts to the kids, have a Valentine’s party at home, go out to dinner as a family or put on a movie marathon, and prove that you don’t have to be a couple to share the love!

About 141 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged every year, this number being second only to Christmas. In terms of card sending, Mother’s Day pales by comparison to V Day. Given that more people have mothers than lovers, this figure doesn’t quite add up… You may have heard of the “Anti-Valentine’s Day Party,” most likely conceived by a jilted lover or perpetually single person who had finally had enough of staying in on February 14th. It’s an opportunity for single people (or those ardently against the exclusivity of Valentine’s Day), to party like the day was created for them, instead of being all about those people in cushy stable relationships or budding romantic flings.

What we’re trying to say folks, is that lovers shouldn’t be able to commandeer a whole day for themselves! Valentine’s Day is for everyone!

valentines arts and crafts

Make Valentine’s Day dinner a family affair Decorate the family dining table in pink and red, sprinkle heart shaped cutouts or confetti around and place tea lights around the place. Cook everyone’s favorites and make heart-shaped cookies and cake for dessert. If you have younger kids, let them assist with the frosting of the cake, mixing of the batter, licking of the spoon etc. As an after dinner treat, play a board game, drink hot cocoa, or watch a movie together. Plan ahead and make it a “white elephant” Valentine’s Day dinner. Everyone picks a family member’s name out of a hat, and buys a small gift for that person. Older kids, mom or dad can help younger kids with this one.

Go Out as a Group!

Make V Day special for your favorite people, and spend a night on the town! When was the last time you all went out together for dinner and a show, or a movie, or a walk along the boardwalk? Now is the perfect time for a night out as a family. When you are choosing the restaurant, remember you will be up against countless couples that will have made their dinner reservations in advance – so do the same! Book a week out, for your table of two, or three, or seven… Be sure to ask if the restaurant will be doing a special menu. Often restaurants will offer a set menu for Valentine’s Day, and it is likely to be pricy. Choose a family friendly restaurant where you can order off the menu, and save some money for your after dinner entertainment.

Did Somebody say Movie Marathon?!?

bucket of popcornReclaim Valentine’s Day in style and put on a killer V Day movie marathon for the family or a bunch of your friends. Remember that fifth grade Valentine card you made from red and pink cardboard and paper doilies? Recreate the magic in the form of homemade invites for the movie night, and get everyone into the spirit of the occasion. Send the invites with flowers and candy!

When choosing the movies for the marathon, your viewing choices can go a number of different ways. If you are celebrating V Day the kids, pick a couple of soppy romantic movies like “Lady and the Tramp” (1955), “Big” (1998), “Love Actually” (2003), or “Sleepless in Seattle” (1993). If you are going for more of an “eating ice-cream on the couch in your pajamas” kind of night with your single friends, go for anti-romances like “The Break-Up” (2006), or “The War of the Roses” (1989).If you are with your college roommates, you might get a little dark with thrillers like “Basic Instinct” (1992), and “Single White Female” (1992).

There are plenty of fun things that you can do as a family on Valentine’s Day – just be sure to avoid the restaurant district and stay in!